Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
For most of us Christmas has come and gone.
The weeks we spent in anticipation are over. Shopping for the perfect gift -- it's over. The decorating of our homes -- over. The wrapping of gifts -- over. The lights -- off and unplugged. The holiday baking -- over. The telephone calls to old friends -- over. The company Christmas party -- over. The special worship services at church, the Christmas holiday specials on television -- all over.
Those who had live trees are hurrying to get them out to the garbage, and those who sponsored artificial trees are trying to stuff them back into the box. Christmas has come to an abrupt end, just like it does every January and, with Christmas over, we are beginning the return to normalcy.
After the holy day's festivities it's back to the daily grind, and we find we are, once again, dealing with the same old same old, and this year seems to look a lot like last.
This means, once again, the darkness of sin is descending. You, my friends, know what I mean:
* On the news, darkness is descending as terrorists continue to make their threats. One terrorist leader with a strange sounding name is captured or killed, and is replaced by another terrorist leader with an equally strange sounding name.
* The darkness descends as we hear of another child disappearing from a school bus stop or from a neighborhood playground. Although the names and addresses are different, the anguish of the parents is the same; the sympathetic search is the same, and the descending darkness is the same.
* We listen to the economic news and the darkness descends. The plight and poverty of one Latin American nation is replaced by another. The scandal connected with the corruption of one company is shoved aside by another. And the darkness descends.
* It's no longer "news" to hear of outrageous cost overruns in the military, and deficits in national, state and municipal government spending seems to be the norm. No matter what plan is promoted, the darkness keeps coming.
Yes, we are returning to "normal."
Thankfully, for those of us who are Christian, the darkness is not the only familiar thing we will see in this New Year. We will also be blessed to have the Savior by our side. Most certainly, Jesus came into this world to dedicate His life to the cause of paying the ransom price for our salvation. By His sacrifice eternal life is given to all who are brought to faith in Him.
But Jesus is not just for the time of death. He is a Savior for day-to-day living. So He might help us through this present darkness, He has promised to be with us always. The ever-present Redeemer has told us to "call upon Him" and cast our cares on Him (see Isaiah 55:6; 1 Peter 5:7). All of this tells us that, yes, the darkness will descend, but the Lord still has the last word, and the Word is recorded in John 1:5 where it says, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus is the Light who illuminates my path throughout my time in this world and into the next. In the New Year may I make a bold witness to Jesus who is with me always. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries